Commentary Magazine


Team Obama Seeks to Steer GOP Race

It’s hard to read too much into the Obama campaign attacks on GOP candidates at this point. If the Democrats go after Mitt Romney, does that mean they are concerned he has the best chance of beating Obama if he becomes the nominee? Or is it a ploy, designed to make strategists think they’re nervous about Romney, when in reality they’re worried about some other candidate?

Regardless, the Obama campaign has a lot of money to burn, and it’s already started using it to tamper with the Republican nominations — and especially Romney — the Washington Post reports:

The exchanges show that Obama and his lieutenants have no intention of sitting quietly by while GOP voters pick their nominee. Democratic officials are reaching into the fray to test out lines of attack against potential 2012 opponents — and maybe make some mischief along the way.

This week, however, Democrats have trained their attention for the most part on Romney. The former Massachusetts governor is trying to solidify his status as the leader in a still-unsettled Republican field. He has maintained his standing in early polls, is assembling a deep organization nationwide and is raising exponentially more money than his opponents. The Romney campaign said Wednesday it had raised $18.25 million over the past three months , while a new outside political action committee run by his allies raised $12 million.

Democrats have recently been trying to enhance the perception Romney’s a “flip-flopper,” which is something they say makes him vulnerable in both the primaries and in the general election. Romney’s team, of course, is loving the attention, especially since attacks from Obama could make him more attractive to Republican voters.

But while Romney’s reputation as a flip-flopper is a major obstacle in the primaries, would it really be so disastrous in the general election? Obviously it doesn’t speak well to his character, but from a political perspective, his changing views will make him more vulnerable in the primaries than in the general election. After all, he shifted from a liberal Republican to a moderate Republican. If conservatives are able to forgive him for that and give him the nomination, there’s no reason why independents couldn’t get past it.